I was delighted to read that the Scottish Government is at last considering giving Scotland’s councils the powers to deal with Pavement Parking and Double Parking (Report, 12/06/18).
Pavement Parking in particular is a real problem across our Capital. As well as causing problems to people with mobility issues and parents with buggies, it also causes significant damage to our footpaths. Based on the regular correspondence I receive from constituents on this issue, I expect the ban will be warmly welcomed by many in Edinburgh.
It is worth looking in more detail, however, at what is actually being proposed. Like any rule, there are exceptions. Unsurprisingly, the Police and other emergency services are exempt. It also appears that the Royal Mail, AA, RAC and bin lorries are also worthy of special consideration where there is no “reasonable” alternative.
Most surprisingly, Subsection C of Clause 6 on Page 58 makes provision for exemption where vehicles are “parked for no longer than is necessary for the delivery, collection, loading or unloading and in any event for no more than a continuous period of 20 minutes.” This basically means that vehicles of unlimited size can continue to cause a hazard to pedestrians and damage to the pavement as long as goods or people are being loaded or unloaded.
It appears the only targets of this Bill are householders.
Of course, the “reasonable” test is important. It is, however, rather subjective and has to be viewed within the context of a culture where everyone who currently parks on footpaths feels it is reasonable to do so – even where it is outside a primary school!
An issue secondary to these exemptions is the cost of enforcement and the associated public education campaign. Budget cuts mean the city is already struggling to enforce the current parking regime, so let’s hope these new powers come with the resources to enforce them.